OLG Joins GLMS as CEO Spending Habits Examined

The latest news from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) should be positive. Its new membership in the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) shows its dedication to the protection of sports wagering integrity.

However, OLG remains under a cloud that descended upon the organization last month. Specifically, OLG President and CEO Stephen Rigby for extravagant spending habits, and the scrutiny has reached the level of Premier Doug Ford.

Good News First

OLG has become the latest member of GLMS, a global alliance that recently reached 33 members in 30 countries. The other Canadian organization that joined was Loto Quebec.

Since OLG manages regulated sports wagering that is worth more than $300 million in sales, it made good business sense to join GLMS. The worldwide group is known for its dedication to sports betting monitoring, detecting, and analyzing suspicious betting activities. The overall goal is to maintain the integrity of the sports activities upon which people are betting.

GLMS President Ludovico Calvi welcomed OLG as Canada’s largest gaming jurisdiction. “Twice recognized by the World Lottery Association as having the Best Overall Responsible Gambling Program (in 2014 and 2018),” he said, “OLG brings unique pedigree into the GLMS community of members.”

OLG Chief Operating Officer Lori Sullivan said that the group’s commitment to oversight of global sports betting marketplace integrity “aligns with OLG’s reputation for developing world-class gaming entertainment for Ontario in a responsible way.”

Speaking of Integrity

According to the Toronto Sun, OLG CEO Stephen Rigby has a spending problem.

It begins with Rigby’s annual base salary that is now more than $765K. Some of the other expenses that OLG has paid on behalf of Rigby include:

  • Rental for three pieces of art (not including the shipping from Toronto) = $3,200
  • Accommodations during a move in 2015 for nine months = $56,676 ($6,297 per month)
  • Flights from Toronto to Ottawa during the 2015 move = $20,000

It is also noted that Rigby previously worked for the federal government and would have seen his salary capped at $327,200. However, he started his new job at OLG at $453,339, a salary that increases massively to $765,406 in just four years.

OLG says the salary is warranted to bring in the best talent. And it is true, by the numbers, that OLG has been transformed and improved through advancements in digital offerings, strategic partnerships, and market and revenue growth.

It should also be noted that the VP position under Rigby warrants a salary of $352,478.

Interesting Numbers

While some of the financials from OLG look positive, there are some concerns in that arena, too.

OLG captured $480 million more in revenue in the previous fiscal year than the year before. However, that additional revenue didn’t translate into more money for the community initiatives and social services it promises to fund. Despite that significant revenue increase last year, OLG gave $15 million less to the province. While the amount was still close to $2.5 billion, many believe it should increase with the revenue of OLG.

And according to the Toronto Sun writer Brian Lilley, OLG has slimmed its personnel in the past three years by more than 9,000 employees, moving them to the private sector.

Some say these numbers are not honest and don’t tell the entire story. For example, OLG has cut its publicly-funded wage bill by 50% since 2013. In addition, new gaming opportunities created by OLG have fostered 500 new jobs, not to mention $500 million in new capital spend. (That capital amount is expected to rise to $1 billion in 2020.)

Flashback to First-Quarter Payments

This summer, OLG reported its first-quarter non-tax gaming revenue payments to host gaming communities at nearly $44.4 million. (The OLG fiscal year begins April 1 and runs through March 31.)

The first-quarter payments to 28 communities put the total to date over $1.6 billion.

OLG’s reporting showed that the payment increased from only $25.5 million in previous quarter, and that was for 24 communities.

Ford Promises Transparency

Ontario Premier Doug Ford became aware of Rigby’s expenditures after the Toronto Sun series of articles. Technically, Finance Minister Rod Phillips saw the articles and first called the OLG Chairperson to express his concerns. But when he didn’t get a satisfactory response, he took it to Ford, who promised that his government will look into it.

Ford told the Toronto Sun that an auditing team is going to take a first look at the OLG’s books. “There’s one thing I won’t tolerate is people wasting taxpayers’ money,” he said. “So, once we get the audit done, we’ll make sure we’re transparent. We’ll be talking to the media, and you can look at the audit.”

Some are alleging that the deep dive into Rigby’s expenses is petty and unwarranted, but Ford promises to figure it all out.

 

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. As the online gaming sectors have changed and grown, particularly in the United States and Canada, she has followed it all and written about it for websites like World Poker Tour and PokerScout. In her free time, she runs a small business, reads, cooks, and enjoys music.

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